- Historical background to the formation of a mass education system in the English speaking lands of the Commonwealth
- The structure of the education system/s in English speaking lands of the Commonwealth
A Brief History of Education in Britain
The earliest known schools in England date from the late sixth century. 'The conscious object of these early schools, attached to cathedrals and to monasteries, was to train intending priests and monks to conduct and understand the services of the Church, and to read the Bible and the writings of the Christian Fathers' (Williams 1961:128).
Two types of school grew up (often connected): the grammar school, to teach Latin, and the song school (which some cathedrals still have today), where the 'sons of gentlefolk' were educated and trained to sing in cathedral choirs.
'Grammar' at this time did not mean simply learning about the structure of language - that meaning did not develop until the middle ages. Rather, it was 'a preparation for reading, especially reading aloud, and was taken to involve comprehension and commentary, so that content was inseparable' (Williams 1961:129). This caused problems for the church because, while it was essential that Latin should be understood, there were concerns that students would read a wide range of Latin literature and 'pagan' philosophy. Thus it was that Pope Gregory wrote to Bishop Desiderius in Gaul (France):
'A circumstance came to our notice, which cannot be mentioned without shame, namely that you, our brother, give lessons in grammar. This news caused us such annoyance and disgust that all our joy at the good we had heard earlier was turned to sorrow and distress, since the same lips cannot sing the praises of Jove and the praises of Christ. Consider yourself how serious and shocking it is that a bishop should pursue an activity unsuitable even for a pious layman.' (quoted in Williams 1961:128)Some idea of the curriculum of these early schools can be found in the writings of the Venerable Bede, the eighth century Northumbrian monk. In his Ecclesiastical History he notes that at Canterbury Theodore and Hadrian taught 'the rules of metric, astronomy and the computus as well as the works of the saints' (quoted in Williams 1961:129).
The King's College of Our Lady of Eton beside Windsor, commonly known as Eton College or just Eton, is a public school (privately funded and independent) for boys, founded in 1440 by King Henry VI. It is located in Eton, near Windsor in England, north of Windsor Castle, and is one of the original nine English public schools as defined by the Public Schools Act 1868. It has a very long list of distinguished former pupils, including eighteen former British Prime Ministers. Traditionally, Eton has been referred to as "the chief nurse of England's statesmen", and is often described as the most famous public school in the world.
The Harrow School
Harrow School is an independent school for boys aged 13-18. The school is located in Harrow on the Hill in the London Borough of Harrow. The school was founded in 1572 under a Royal Charter granted by Elizabeth I of England; although some have speculated that a school has existed in Harrow for much longer. It is one of the original nine English public schools as defined by the Public Schools Act 1868. Harrow currently has approximately 800 pupils spread across 11 houses, all of whom board full-time at a cost of £26,445 per year, as of 2007. The majority of boarding houses were constructed in Victorian times, when the number of boys increased dramatically. Harrow has many notable alumni, including seven former British Prime Ministers (most notably Winston Churchill), and the first Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. In addition, 19 Old Harrovians have been awarded the Victoria Cross. The School Governors recently introduced Harrow to the international community by opening two new schools, one in Beijing, China, and Harrow International School in Bangkok, Thailand. A twelfth school house is in the early stages of development.
Although the poor had never been educated en masse, there had been parishes where exceptional provision was made, and a few able boys from poor homes had even been offered university places. But by the start of the 19th century, education was organised, like English society as a whole, on a more rigid class basis. The result was 'a new kind of class-determined education. Higher education became a virtual monopoly, excluding the new working class, and the idea of universal education, except within the narrow limits of "moral rescue", was widely opposed as a matter of principle' (Williams 1961:136).
Despite this hostility to universal education, school attendance rose significantly during the 19th century. In 1816, 875,000 of the country's 1.5m children 'attended a school of some kind for some period'. By 1835 the figure was 1.45m out of 1.75m. If this sounds fairly impressive, it should be noted that by 1835 the average duration of school attendance was just one year.
In the 1840s England had around 700 grammar schools and more than 2,000 non-classical endowed schools. The old grammar schools still largely served the upper classes and obtained their pupils from the preparatory schools.
But even here changes began to take place, led by headmasters like Butler at Shrewsbury from 1798 and Arnold at Rugby from 1824. Arnold's main aim was 'the re-establishment of social purpose, the education of Christian gentlemen' (Williams 1961:137). Butler's emphasis, however, was on the importance of passing examinations, and by the 1830s the exam system for university entrance was firmly established. While this had the effect of raising academic standards within the institutions, it also further restricted university entrance to those from a narrow social class.
In 1870 the Elementary Education Act (The Forster Act) introduced compulsory universal education for all children aged 5-13 in Britain and established school boards to oversee and complete the network of schools and to bring them all under some form of supervision.
In Wales, the 1889 Intermediate Education Act established an organised secondary system which linked the board and voluntary elementary schools with the universities, and provided for both boys and girls.
In 1917 the Lewis Report proposed a school leaving age of 14 with no exemptions, followed by attendance for at least 8 hours a week or 320 hours a year at 'day continuation' classes up to age 18. The wide-ranging Education Act of 1918 enacted most of these recommendations. It extended educational provision, raising the school leaving age from 12 to 14 and giving all young workers the right of access to day release education. The raising of the leaving age was not immediately implemented, however, and had to wait until the 1921 Act.
By the 1930s the principles of child development were beginning to influence - albeit very slowly - the style of education offered to younger pupils. Blyth (1965:40-1) distinguishes five factors which gave impetus to the developmental tradition during this period:
- the growth of developmental psychology;
- the writings of Dewey, especially his emphasis on the 'curricular importance of collective preparation for change, and on liberation from the traditional thought-patterns which could be regarded as undemocratic whether in the home, the school or society at large' (Blyth 1965:40);
- the 'great wave of emancipation that characterised the years after 1918. Children were to be given the chance to be themselves at any age and in concert with their peers of both sexes' (Blyth 1965:40);
- the growth of what is now rather loosely described as the 'welfare state';
- the rapid growth of the concept of 'secondary education for all' officially enunciated for the Labour Party by the great socialist historian RH Tawney in 1923.
- the kindergarten movement, based on Froebel's theory and practice from the 1890s onward - 'natural development', 'spontaneity' etc. This had been adapted to the Board Schools' drill practice in an extremely mechanistic manner, so losing its educative significance;
- the work of Dr Maria Montessori in the early 1900s, with its emphasis on structured learning, sense training and individualisation. Its main impact was in infant schools, especially middle class private schools;
- Margaret and Rachel McMillan and their emphasis on improving hygienic conditions, overcoming children's physical defects, and providing an appropriate 'environment' for young children;
- What Is and What Might Be published by ex-Chief Inspector of Elementary Schools Edmund Holmes in 1911. This was 'the first striking manifesto of the "progressives" in its total condemnation of the arid drill methods of the contemporary elementary school' (Galton, Simon and Croll 1980:34);
- Susan Isaacs' two books of 1930 and 1933 on the intellectual and social development of children.
The school leaving age was raised to 16 in 1971.
Public schools in the United Kingdom and much of the Commonwealth, are independent secondary schools funded by a combination of endowments, tuition fees and other non-governmental funding. In Australia public schools are called private schools. Independent school is another name used.
The school and university system of England was established in all of the colonial possessions. The first school was set up in Australia in 1789, the year after colonisation began. In India education was in the first century of colonisation was restricted to the rich and the colonial administrators. After 1854 the British administration introduced a system of education from primary school to university, including teacher education institutions, because they became aware that education could be a prime tool for maintaining its hold on India and also a source of social change. However, participation by Indians in administrative matters was limited. In India the education of Indians by the colonial power eventually provided the leaders of independence movements, Ghandi was educated in England ( University College London) as was Nehru (Harrow, Cambridge University). Education was used to both insill the values desired by the colonial powers and to train those that could run the business of empire in its every corner. The (most likely unintended) effect of such a system of education was to furnish the subjects of the Empire with the means of its downfall, in the lawyers, politicians, teachers and philosophers that were educated in its schools.
Schools played an important part in the colonial experience in South Africa. In 1839 an Education Department was established at the Cape with a superintendent, James Rose Innes, at its head. This position was bureaucratised with an administrative apparatus by the end of this century. In Natal, after annexation in 1843, attempts were made to develop an education structure. These only stabilised in 1858. Meanwhile, constitutional provision was made for education in the Transvaal Republic in 1858 and properly so in 1863 in the Orange Free State. Important about this period is that it marks the institutionalization of education in Southern Africa and its formal deployment in the cause of building a white identity.
In the England of the Empire it was also the tradition in upper middle class and upper class families which possessed land and wealth that the oldest son take over the property, the next oldest son to join the army and the third to enter the ministry and take vows as a priest. Women were generally regarded as the inferior companions to the men who filled the roles dictated by tradition, and they did not go to school, or own property in the majority of cases, although there were exceptions. Most women had little choice but to marry and upon doing so everything they owned, inherited and earned automatically belonged to their husband. This meant that if an offence or felony was committed against her, only her husband could prosecute. Furthermore, rights to the woman personally - that is, access to her body - were his. Not only was this assured by law, but the woman herself agreed to it verbally: written into the marriage ceremony was a vow to obey her husband, which every woman had to swear before God as well as earthly witnesses. Not until the late 20th century did women obtain the right to omit that promise from their wedding vows. Education was most often simply denied to women completely, that is outside the domestic and basic economic eduction that was considered necessary to run the household. (See Women's Status in 19th Century England.
The present school system in England has its beginnings in the middle ages, although the majority of reforms and implementations come from the twentieth century. The history of education in England can be traced back to the Anglo-Saxon settlement of England, or even back to the Roman occupation. During the Middle Ages schools were established to teach Latin grammar, while apprenticeship was the main way to enter practical occupations. Two universities were established: the University of Oxford (1096), followed by the University of Cambridge (1209). A reformed system of "free grammar schools" was established in the reign of Edward VI (1537-1553) of England.
Tom Browns School Days (1971)
Tom Brown's Schooldays is a novel by Thomas Hughes first published in 1857. The story is set at Rugby School, a public school for boys, in the 1830s. Hughes attended Rugby School from 1834 to 1842. The novel was originally published as being "by an Old Boy of Rugby", and much of it is based on the author's experiences. Tom Brown is largely based on the author's brother, George Hughes; and George Arthur, another of the book's main characters, is based on Arthur Penrhyn Stanley. The fictional Tom's life also resembles the author's in that the culminating event of his school career was a cricket match.
Eduction in South AfricaEducation expenditures: 5.4% (2006)
The opening moment of formal education in South Africa coincides with the foundation of the colonial experience at the Cape in 1652. Six years after the Dutch East India Company established its colony at the Cape, the first school is begun in 1658. This school was founded by Commander Jan van Riebeeck for the slave children brought to the Cape in the Dutch ship, the Amersfoort, which had captured them off a Portuguese slaver.
The establishment of an extensive system of education begins with the period of British rule at the Cape. This period was marked by a systematic attempt on the part of the British to anglicise Cape society. The period beginning with the occupation of the Cape by the British in 1795 ushers in important social, political and economic developments. The slave trade is abolished in Britain in 1807 and slavery is formally abolished in all colonies of the British Empire, including the colony at the Cape, in 1833. The period is marked by the emergence of colonialism proper.
Schools played an important part in this experience. In 1839 an Education Department was established at the Cape with a superintendent, James Rose Innes, at its head. This position was bureaucratised with an administrative apparatus by the end of this century. In Natal, after annexation in 1843, attempts were made to develop an education structure. These only stabilised in 1858. Meanwhile, constitutional provision was made for education in the Transvaal Republic in 1858 and properly so in 1863 in the Orange Free State.
Education under Apartheid
The Bantu Education Act
The Bantu Education Act (No. 47) of 1953 widened the gaps in educational opportunities for different racial groups. Two of the architects of Bantu education, Dr. W.M. Eiselen and Dr. Hendrik F. Verwoerd, had studied in Germany and had adopted many elements of National Socialist (Nazi) philosophy. The concept of racial "purity," in particular, provided a rationalization for keeping black education inferior. Verwoerd, then minister of native affairs, said black Africans "should be educated for their opportunities in life," and that there was no place for them "above the level of certain forms of labour." The government also tightened its control over religious high schools by eliminating almost all financial aid, forcing many churches to sell their schools to the government or close them entirely.
Christian National Education supported the NP program of apartheid by calling on educators to reinforce cultural diversity and to rely on "mother-tongue" instruction in the first years of primary school. This philosophy also espoused the idea that a person's social responsibilities and political opportunities are defined, in large part, by that person's ethnic identity. The government also gave strong management control to the school boards, who were elected by the parents in each district.
Official attitudes toward African education were paternalistic, based on trusteeship and segregation. Black education was not supposed to drain government resources away from white education. The number of schools for blacks increased during the 1960s, but their curriculum was designed to prepare children for menial jobs. Per-capita government spending on black education slipped to one-tenth of spending on whites in the 1970s. Black schools had inferior facilities, teachers, and textbooks.
The Levels of the South African Education System
Under the South African Schools Act of 1996, education is compulsory for all South Africans from age 7 (grade 1) to age 15, or the completion of grade 9. General Education and Training also includes Adult Basic Education and Training.
''The Languages of South Africa''
South Africa is a multilingual country. Besides the 11 officially recognised languages, scores of others - African, European, Asian and more - are spoken here, as the country lies at the crossroads of southern Africa. The country's Constitution guarantees equal status to 11 official languages to cater for the country's diverse peoples and their cultures. These are:
Other languages spoken in South Africa and mentioned in the Constitution are the Khoi, Nama and San languages, sign language, Arabic, German, Greek, Gujarati, Hebrew, Hindi, Portuguese, Sanskrit, Tamil, Telegu and Urdu. There are also a few indigenous creoles and pidgins. English is generally understood across the country, being the language of business, politics and the media, and the country's lingua franca. But it only ranks joint fifth out of 11 as a home language.
About Education in South Africa
According to the Bill of Rights contained in the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 (Act 108 of 1996), everyone has the right to a basic education, including adult basic education and further education, which the State, through reasonable measures, must progressively make available and accessible. The General Education and Training (GET) level of education is compulsory in South Africa. At almost 5,5% of gross domestic product, South Africa has one of the highest rates of government investment in education in the world. Formal education in South Africa is categorised according to three levels – General Education and Training (GET), Further Education and Training (FET) and Higher Education (HE). The GET band consists of the Reception Year (Grade R) and learners up to Grade 9, as well as an equivalent Adult Basic Education and Training (Abet) qualification. Following the completion of grade 9 the compulsory portion of education is complete. The FET band consists of grades 10 to 12 in schools and all education and training from the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) levels 2 to 4 (equivalent to grades 10 to 12 in schools), and the N1 to N6 in FET colleges. The HE band consists of a range of degrees, diplomas and certificates up to and including postdoctoral degrees. These levels are integrated within the NQF provided by the South African Qualifications Authority (Saqa) Act, 1995 (Act 58 of 1995). By mid-2006, the South African public education system had 12 million learners, 366 000 educators and about 28 000 schools, including 390 special-needs schools and 1 000 registered private schools. Of all schools, 6 000 were high schools (grades 7 to 12) and the rest were primary schools (grades 1 to 6). Some of the oldest schools in South Africa are private church schools that were established by missionaries in the early nineteenth century. The private sector has grown ever since. After the abolition of apartheid, the laws governing private education in South Africa changed significantly. The South African Schools Act of 1996 recognises two categories of schools: "public" (state-controlled) and "independent" (which includes traditional private schools and schools which are privately-governed.) Schools previously called semi-private or model C schools are not private schools, as they are ultimately state-controlled.
In 2003, a consortium of 10 Port Elizabeth, South African township schools came together to form Active Schools. Active Schools functions as a small association of primary and secondary schools from communities of extreme need whose leaders have banded together to foster various school enrichment, community outreach, and critical student feeding programs. The organization, despite paltry funding and operating in the most challenging of social and physical environments, has endeavored to create safe and secure learning centers that can serve as inspiring models for disadvantaged schools everywhere.
Inside the School Room:
The Eastern Cape of South Africa is one of the poorest provinces in South Africa. Many families cannot even afford to give their children a good education. A 14-year-old-boy gives his own account of what it means to get a good education.
Education expenditures: 4.5% (2005)
History of Education in Australia
Australia was initially settled as a penal colony for criminals from England, Ireland and Scotland. Originally the Church of England, claiming to be the established church, assumed responsibility for the education of the new colonists. This was challenged by the Presbyterian and Roman Catholic Churches who had a large number of adherents among the colonists. Following intense disagreements in the early years of settlement, by various religions claiming responsibility for education, each colony between 1872 and 1895 passed the "free, compulsory and secular" Education Acts which stopped most financial assistance to church schools and made primary education a state responsibility. However, the Catholic Church established its own education system.
Education in Australia is primarily the responsibility of states and territories. Generally, education in Australia follows the three-tier model which includes primary education (primary schools), followed by secondary education (secondary schools/high schools) and tertiary education (universities and/or TAFE (Technical and Further Education Colleges). Education is compulsory up to an age specified by legislation; this age varies from state to state but is generally 15-17, that is prior to completing secondary education. Post-compulsory education is regulated within the Australian Qualifications Framework, a unified system of national qualifications in schools, vocational education and training (TAFE) and the higher education sector (university). The academic year in Australia varies between states and institutions, but generally runs from late January until mid-December for primary and secondary schools and TAFE colleges, and from late February until mid-November for universities.
|University||Doctoral Degree |
Bachelor Degree (with Honours)
|Tertiary Education||TAFE||Associate Diploma |
|Private Education & Training||Associate Diploma |
Certificate (Business, Computer)
|Senior Colleges||Year 11-12|
|Senior High School||Year 11-12|
|Secondary Education||Junior High School||Year 7/8 - 10|
|Primary Education||Primary School||Year 1-6|
''Non-government Schools in Australia''
Private schools are one of two types of school in Australia, the other being government schools (state schools). Whilst private schools are sometimes considered 'public' schools (as in the Associated Public Schools of Victoria), the term 'public school' is usually synonymous with a government school. Private schools in Australia may be favoured for many reasons: prestige, and the social status of the 'old school tie'; better quality physical infrastructure and more facilities (eg. playing fields, swimming pool, etc.), higher-paid teachers; and/or the belief that private schools offer a higher quality of education. Some schools offer the removal of the purported distractions of co-education; the presence of boarding facilities; or stricter discipline. Public schools are more affordable and have less strict clothing codes. Private schools in Australia are still government funded, although they are also more expensive than government schools. Private schools may have a greater focus on sports and other associations than public schools. The GPS schools in New South Wales and Queensland were established to promote certain sports perceived to be elite within these schools. Unlike most public schools, most Australian private school students are subject to strict dress codes - for example, a blazer for boys. There are two main categories of private schools in Australia: Catholic schools and Independent schools.
Catholic schools form the second largest sector after government schools, with around 21% of secondary enrolments. Most Australian catholic schools belong to a system like government schools, are typically co-educational, and attempt to provide Catholic education evenly across the states. These schools are also known as 'systemic'. Systemic Catholic schools are funded mainly by state and federal government and have low fees. There are also a substantial number of independent Catholic schools, often single-sex, usually run by established religious orders, such as the Sisters of Mercy, Marist Brothers or the Christian Brothers. Independent Catholic school fees vary, ranging from low to high. However, fees are typically lower than that of Independent schools, and fee concessions for Catholic families facing financial difficulty are quite common. Catholic schools, both systemic and independent, proclaim strong religious motivations and most often the majority of their staff and students will be Catholics.
Independent schools make up the last sector and are the most popular form of schooling for boarding students. Independent schools are non-government institutions that are generally not part of a system. Although most are non-aligned, some of the best known independent schools also belong to the large, long-established religious foundations (Anglican, Uniting Church, Presbyterian) but in most cases they do not insist on their students’ religious allegiance. These schools are typically viewed as 'elite schools'. Many of the ‘grammar schools’ also fall in this category. They are usually expensive schools that tend to be up-market and traditional in style. On the other hand, many independent schools are quite new, often small, and not necessarily traditional at all.
Queensland Independent Schools
An independent school is a non-government school that is governed, managed and accountable at the level of the individual school. Its governing body is autonomous. Independent schools in receipt of Commonwealth / State funding are incorporated non-profit organisations. However, some independent schools with particular church or ethnic affiliations, although constituted independently, operate within a mutually supportive school system. As might be expected from such a description, independent schools are a diverse group.
The School of the Air
The School offers a wide range of educational services and activities to isolated primary children in the southern half of the Northern Territory, the extreme north of South Australia and the south-east of Western Australia.
Education expenditures: 3.2% (2005)
The ideas and pedagogical methods of education during the colonial period, from 1757 to 1947, were contested terrain. The commercial British East India Company ruled parts of India from 1764 to 1858. A few eighteenth-century company officials became scholars of Sanskrit, Persian, and Tamil and promoted "Oriental" learning, which was classical, demotic learning in indigenous languages. However, they were outnumbered by "Anglicists," those who denigrated "Oriental" learning and advocated the introduction of institutions for Western learning based upon the British curriculum with English as the medium of instruction. By the early nineteenth century, when English was made the official language of government business, British policy promoted a cheap, trickle-down model for colonial education. When the British crown abolished company rule in 1858, government universities existed at Bombay (contemporary Mumbai), Calcutta (Kolkutta), and Madras (Chennai); about two thousand students studied at thirteen government colleges in all of British India, and another 30,000 students were in government secondary schools. Direct rule did not change the decision to de-emphasize primary education to provide occupational training for young Indian men who took jobs both in the lower tiers of the government and in urban, Western-style legal and medical service. Education in Colonial India
Education in India
There are broadly four stages of school education in India, namely primary, upper primary, secondary and higher secondary(or high school). Overall, schooling lasts 12 years, following the "10+2 pattern". However, there are considerable differences between the various states in terms of the organizational patterns within these first 10 years of schooling. The government is committed to ensuring universal elementary education (primary and upper primary) education for all children aged 6-14 years of age. Primary school includes children of ages six to eleven, organized into classes one through five. Upper Primary and Secondary school pupils aged eleven through fifteen are organized into classes six through ten, and higher secondary school students ages sixteen through seventeen are enrolled in classes eleven through twelve. In some places there is a concept called Middle/Upper Primary schools for classes between six to eight. In such cases classes nine to twelve are classified under high school category. Higher Education in India provides an opportunity to specialize in a field and includes technical schools (such as the Indian Institutes of Technology), colleges, and universities. In much of India, the schooling offered by the state governments would technically come under the category of Public schools. They are Federal or State funded and have zero or very minimal fees. The other category of schools are those run and partly funded by private individuals, private organizations and religious groups, especially by the Christian missionaries. They are usually not completely privately run, being 'aided' by the government. The standard and the quality of education is quite high.Technically these would be categorized as private schools, but many of them have the name Public School appended to them, e.g., the Delhi "Public" School,Birla Vidya Mandir . Most of the middle class families send their children to such schools, which might be in their own city or far off (like Boarding schools). The medium of education is English, but as a compulsory subject, Hindi and/or the state's official language is also taught. Preschool education is mostly limited to organized neighbourhood nursery schools. These situations are more or less the same in the other countries of the Indian subcontinent (South Asia) like Nepal, Pakistan, etc.
(Hindi: सलाम बॉम्बे!) is a 1988 Hindi film directed by Mira Nair, and screenwritten by her longtime creative collaborator, Sooni Taraporevala. The film chronicles the day-to-day life of children living on the streets of Mumbai (formerly known as Bombay). Many many children in India do not have the chance to go to school. This film gives an insight into the life of Indian street children.
Educational Expenditure for Sweden as a percentage of GDP - 6.9% (2005)